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Housing experts to address extensive changes in sector

Northern Ireland’s social and affordable housing sector is undergoing unprecedented transformation at a time of considerable political and economic uncertainty.

With the introduction of Universal Credit, cuts to the Supporting People programme, new regulatory frameworks, and a massive digital evolution, the need to stay abreast of the latest developments has never been greater.

Next month, experts from across the UK will gather in Co. Down at the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) Annual Conference.  Full Conference Programme

This year’s event will feature sessions on: Getting Ready for Universal Credit; Where to for Supporting People; Leading Growth and Excellence; The Digital Evolution in Housing; The Changing Face of PR and Communications in Housing; and the Roles and Responsibilities of Housing Associations in relation to Asylum Seekers.

In addition, there will be a special session on Housing Safety, Accountability and Regulation featuring:

  • Geoff Somerville, Group Commander, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service on Local Experiences following the Grenfell Tower Tragedy: Common Problems Encountered
  • John Giesen, Chair, Tenant Participation Advisory Service, England’s leading tenant engagement experts, and
  • Andrew McCracken, CEO, Community Foundation, on Social Landlord Responsibilities: What Board Members Need to Know.

Andrew McCracken

Geoff Somerville

John Giesen







Around 200 senior level delegates are expected to take part, including representatives from Northern Ireland’s housing associations as well as leading figures from government, the civil service and the third sector.

They will be joined by experts in housing practice from across the UK, with plenty of stimulating debate on how best to meet the challenges and make the most of the opportunities currently facing the sector. Given that welfare reform is causing a paradigm shift in housing management, we are also running a special one-day conference for front line staff and managers on 28 September.


  • Keynote Address by Ian Snowden
    Director of Housing, Policy and Performance, Dept. for Communities
  • Getting Ready for Universal Credit
    Universal Credit: The Challenges for Landlords – Heather McLaughlin, River Clyde Homes
    Universal Credit: The Challenges for Tenants – Rhiannon Sims, Citizens Advice Scotland
    Overview of Universal Credit – Paul Armstrong, NIFHA
  • Where from here for Supporting People?
    How SP is affecting delivery on the ground – Fiona McAnespie, Radius Housing
    Impact of SP on Homelessness – Ricky Rowledge, CHNI
  • Developing new homes in times of uncertainty
    Tom Barclay – Wheatley Housing Group
  • The changing face of PR and communications in housing
    Katie Doran, Lanyon Communications
  • Housing safety, accountability and regulation: what board members need to know
    Local experiences following Grenfell Tower tragedy, common problems encountered – Geoff Somerville, NIFRS
    How do we ensure we have effective tenant and community engagement where we listen, not hear – John Giesen, TPAS

CONFERENCE COSTS (note below early bird rates effective until Sun 27th Aug)

FULL CONFERENCE (2 DAYS plus Thurs eve Conference dinner/entertainment)
Complimentary evening drinks reception on Wed 27th Sept 7pm-9pm for early registrations
Housing Association/Jt Managing Partner £320 // NIFHA Associate £355 // Non Member £375

THURSDAY ONLY (exc dinner) NB Dinner bookings for one-day delegates to be booked separately
Housing Association/Jt Managing Partner £230 // NIFHA Associate £245 // Non Member £260

Housing Association/Jt Managing Partner £120 // NIFHA Associate £130 // Non Member £145

Housing Association/Jt Managing Partner £55 // NIFHA Associate £60 // Non Member £65


Silver – EDG // Habinteg NI
Dinner – Ulster Bank // Lunch – Campbell Tickell
Drinks Reception – A & L Goodbody